lap pool

Building a pool in Cambodia’s Capital has some unique challenges. One challenge is most residences have limited open space. Fitting a pool in a tight spot takes some creative thinking and smart engineering. It also helps that we are able to build the pool right up to the property line and there are no setbacks from the house (in the west, most building codes require 10-50′ off your neighbors property and 10′ from the house). Also some of the “smaller” pools that have been built in small spaces have ended up being some of my favorite pools as the finished product looks so beautiful.

Intimate Lounging

While your small pool might not be excellent for swimming laps, the pool can be a great cozy area to have fun. The pool could be tucked in a corner and used to cool off from the hot Cambodian sun. Or the pool could have a waterfall along with some beautiful landscaping around it, creating a tranquil space, while outside your residence, the chaotic life of an Asian capital is still happening.

Creative Design

Designing a small pool can really make or break the usability of the pool. The best shape probably will not be a rectangle, unless you are going for a very narrow swimming lap pool. A freeform pool can be great as we can have an area for lounging in the pool, a shallow end for the kids and a deep end for diving into the pool. Working with the free-form design we can incorporate a small patio area that could have a table or some loungers for relaxing by the pool side. Or maybe we skip having a table outside and build bar stools into the pool and have a spot to drink/eat while inside the pool.

With the pool being smaller, less money is going to be needed for the actual pool, and some of that money can be transferred over into a cool feature. The “in” pool design trend of 2019 is incorporating gas fire next to the pool water. The juxtaposition of fire versus water is great and night the visual aspect of the fire with the pool as a backdrop is visually stunning.

The last way creative designing can help a pool fit in a backyard is building half of the pool in the house. Sometimes (a lot easier if the house is under construction) we can have the second story cantilevered out over the pool or half the pool. This keeps most of your house space while adding more space to the pool. Also the second story of the house is free sun protection of the pool, and lights, live plants, or fans can be incorporated under the ceiling.

When Swimming Laps or Exercising is the end goal.

If the pool, is only going to be used for laps or exercising, we have two ways to fit it in your tight backyard. For the lap pool, we only use go ultra skinny and go lengthwise with the house, essentially building in the “side yard”  If Exercising is the goal, IE treading water, walking, aerobics, we can build a Spool, which is a size in between a Spa and Pool. We can add customized powerful jets for recovery. while keeping a small deep end for treading water or aerobics. Along with this theme we can also build high powerful pool returns that simulate a current and the swimmer can swim in place for as long as they want.

Last Tip for Small Areas

If money is not a problem, an unique way to attack the problem of a small area is building a pool with a hydraulic floor in the bottom. When you want a place to hang out, or eat dinner, you press a button for the hydraulic floor to rise up to the top of the water. When someone wants to cool down and go for a swim, your press a button, and in about a minute the floor submerges below water and your swimming pool is revealed. This is also a great option for a family with small kids that want the ultimate protection to prevent a drowning. The downside for the hydraulic vanishing floor is mainly the cost (around $100,000) and the yearly maintenance of the moving parts (once a year, but free for the first 2 years).


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